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Using FAO microfiche with AGRIS: Finding the fiche using an AGRIS citation


For most records, the easiest way to tell if a title is in the FAO fiche collection is to examine the NT and AVAILABILITY fields. If one of these fields contains the statement "Available on microfiche" or simply "Microfiche number . . .," it should be in the fiche collection. Note that the field labelled AN (accession number) has no relationship to the fiche collection; rather, that accession number is the AGRIS database accession number, NOT the fiche accession number.

In addition to an accession number, each fiche header also contains a language code. FAO materials are issued primarily in English, Spanish and French, but also appear in Italian, Arabic, Chinese, German, Portuguese, and other languages.

The FAO microfiche collection is housed in the Government Documents microfiche cabinets. Due to the changes in the format of the microfiche accession numbers, filing of the collection is not always very straightforward.

Sample Accession numbers:

From 1976 to 1983, accession numbers looked like: 8003927 (Efs) The first 2 digits represent a year, the remaining digits fill out the accession number. This document was issued in English, French and Spanish. The fact that the "E" is capitalized means that the sheet of fiche in hand is in English; if the F had been capitalized, it would mean that the French edition is in hand, etc. For this period of time, the FAO accession number is the same as the fiche sheet number.

From 1984 to 1989, accession numbers looked like: XF8550173. The first 2 digits represent a year, the remaining digits fill out the accession number. For this period of time, the FAO accession number is not the same as the fiche sheet number. Therefore, you must look up the accession number in FAO Documentation: Current Bibliography to find the microfiche sheet number. The fiche numbers look like: 85X00001, where the 85 is a year, the X represents the class of publication, and the remaining digits fill out the accession number. In mid- 1988, the FAO decided that, as a general rule, the language designation on a fiche would only reflect the language of the piece in hand and not all the languages in which the title was issued.

From 1990 on, accession numbers continue to look like the number given above. In mid-1990 a colon was added between the 2nd and 3rd digits to help distinguish the year from the rest of the accession number.

Remember, for this period of time, the accession number should take you directly to the desired sheet of microfiche. Keep in mind, however, that the fiche header will not bear the year, only the trailing digits. So, for example, the header for the fiche corresponding to the AGRIS citation with an FAO accession number of 90:288943 (Weed management in Ethiopia . . .) will simply say 288943 and the title.

It is not unusual for the FAO to film related documents together. Each document will have its own accession number, but the fiche header will contain a range of numbers. (For example: the Joint Meeting of the FAO Panels of Experts . . . generated over a dozen reports. Each report is given its own accession number. The fiche, however, bear a group number: 290067-089.)

MICROFICHE FILING The fiche are filed in chronological and numerical order. However, the different numbering schemes described above make that a less than straightforward system. From 1976 to 1990, microfiche are filed in numerical order ignoring the class designation given in fiche issued between 1984 and 1989. From 1990 on, the fiche are filed in numerical order. There is a subset of assorted serial titles that do not bear unique accession numbers. These are filed alphabetically by title in the drawer marked "FAO Fiche filed by title." Many of the titles in the fiche collection are on several sheets of fiche. As each sheet is in a separate envelope, be sure to check that you pulled all the necessary sheets.


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Julia Ezzo
Michigan State University